Lonely Planet’s experts have travel suggestions galore, so they couldn’t wait to advise Lonely Planet Magazine reader Emma Cohen on where to find an unusual wine-tasting experience.
Consider exploring Turkey’s growing wine scene. The country’s viniculture industry is thousands of years old, even if it went into a prolonged slump during Ottoman rule. The country is now the world’s fourth-largest wine producer (winesofturkey.org). Visiting key wine areas is easy to combine with some of Turkey’s big hitters. One of them is the very beautiful wine-producing village of Şirince, near the Aegean coast and the ancient ruins of Ephesus - it has a tradition of making wines from many different kinds of fruits, not just grapes. There are also vineyards in the inland region of Cappadocia, famous for its rock churches and fairy chimneys, where the fertile volcanic soil balances out its relative altitude. One to visit is the Zeynep vineyard, at 1,050 metres in height, part of the Turasan Winery in Ürgüp, which has been making wine since 1943 (turasan.com.tr). Yunak Evleri, a hotel dating partly back to the fifth century, is within walking distance (yunak.com).
2. Canada, recommended by US travel editor, Robert Reid
Here’s one you might not have considered - Niagara Falls. Away from the tour buses and shops, the Niagara Peninsula is a real surprise. Benefiting from a similar climate to Bordeaux, the rolling farmlands outside the village of Niagara-on-the-Lake are home to dozens of wineries (see winecountryontario.ca for details). Among them is Inniskillin, famed for its ice wine, where some grapes are left on the vine after the harvest, the frost making the vintage sweet and full flavoured (inniskillin. com). April to October is a great time to come, when the village hosts the Shaw Festival across four theatres. The town is also the starting point of the bike-friendly Niagara River Recreation Trail, which overlooks the river (niagaraparks.com). The Vineland Estates Winery has a few comfortable guestrooms (vineland.com). For other b&b accommodation in the Niagara region, check out the BBCanada website (bbcanada.com).
China might seem an unlikely place to sample vino, but the Chinese were making wine as far back as 4,000 years ago. Industry professionals have predicted that China’s domestic wine market is set to become the world’s largest in the next few decades (see grapewallofchina.com for more information). Although the southwestern Yunnan Province has some interesting wineries, the closest to Beijing are in the Shandong region. In the breezy coastal town of Yantai, you’ll find the Changyu Wine Culture Museum, which covers the history of China’s oldest Western-style winery, first founded in 1892 (changyu.com.cn). To see the actual vineyards, head to the over-the-top Chateau Changyu-Castel. More than 180 varietals are grown here and you’ll be able to sample the ‘best’ of China’s current crop. Staff at the museum can provide transport details. The Crowne Plaza is one of the better places to stay in the area (crowneplaza.com).